Prior to the gig Apocalyptica performed
in Stockholm on May 26 at Klubben in Stokholm, we had the opportunity
to have a chat with Paavo Lotjonen. Below
you can find the result of that session........
Interview conducted by Michael Finnermark
and Niklas Lundqvist
Metal Covenant: What's happening in the
world of Apocalyptica at the moment?
Paavo: We released our new album in the beginning
of February, but we started our tour in the end of January. We began
with supporting Rammstein for five weeks during their European tour,
after that we went to North America and toured for two weeks. Then
we started our own European tour, with bigger shows in the area around
Germany. At the moment we are in the second phase of our tour, with
shows with a bit smaller budget. After this the festival season starts,
with gigs every week. We will do some more touring this autumn, which
means that altogether we have about 140 shows.
Covenant: How has your latest album been received?
Metal Covenant: How about the future, then?
You obviously won't have time to start working on a new album this year?
Paavo: Well, it's hard to be really creative
when you're on tour. The tour bus is not really the best place for
composing, you know? But our plan is that early next year, when we
have some free space; there will be time for some intellectual work.
I believe that the next album will be ready in about two years, probably.
Metal Covenant: Where do you get your inspiration
to write music? Is it the life on the road, or maybe everyday things?
Metal Covenant: How would you describe
a typical Apocalyptica-concert? How much difference is it between the
bigger shows and the smaller ones?
Paavo: We're more used to bigger venues; Klubben
is actually one of the smallest ones we'll play at this year. You
can't say that it's better or worse, but it's different and it's always
good to play at different venues. Smaller shows have a more intimate
feeling but you can't run around and make the big stage gestures.
Every show is a challenge. It doesn't matter if you play in front
of a huge or a small audience, because there are always individuals
in the crowd. I get to play for you, and not just the big mass.
Covenant: : Let's talk about the start of your career. I (Niklas)
played cello when I was a kid, although I quit after a few years because
I found it difficult. When did you guys start playing the cello, and what
made you continue? Teenagers usually don't find classical music too exciting
Paavo: I started when I was six years old.
Perrtu started when he was five years old and Eicca when he was eight.
Actually, I'm teaching cello students myself, the youngest ones being
six and the oldest ones being twenty. If the playing becomes too difficult
for you, it tends to be boring since you can't get any satisfaction
out of it. It becomes frustrating. But if the pupil is talented, it
doesn't matter what type of music he or she gets to play. If you manage
to get past that troublesome age of 12-13, I think you should continue.
When I'm teaching students I let them play both classical and rock
songs, and I've noticed that the genre isn't too important, it's the
deeper meaning of the music that matters.
Metal Covenant: Have you tried out any similar
classical instruments? If so, why did you stick with the cello?
Paavo: I have played bass and piano. The reason
I prefer the cello is that it's so challenging. In piano, when you
play one note it's already beautiful. But with cello it doesn't sound
good from the start, you have to practice hard to get the right sound.
Metal Covenant: You have released five albums
so far; which one is your favourite?
Paavo: I would say that the latest album is
the best overall, but in every album there are songs that are certain
favourites of mine. I still enjoy the older albums, because they all
contain things that are close to my heart.
Metal Covenant: Which of your songs do
you particularly like?
Paavo: If we start with the past, then there
is a song called "Pray" from the "Cult"-album
that I really like. On our previous album "Reflections",
"Cohkka" is my favourite. From the latest album there are
a few favourites, for example "Quutamo" and "Deathzone".
Then there is of course "Bittersweet" as well.
Covenant: Do you have a diverse musical taste in Apocalyptica?
- Paavo: Well, since
there are three members there is bound to be some change in taste. Perrtu
likes death metal and speed/thrash, with some opera on the side. Eicca
enjoys rock, while I prefer the serious, dark mood things. I don't like
it when it's too aggressive.
Metal Covenant: You mentioned "Bittersweet"
as one of your favourites, where you collaborated with your countrymen
Ville Valo (HIM) and Lauri Ylönen (The Rasmus). Another example is
the Swedish singer Linda Sundblad (Lambretta) who sang on "Faraway".
This is just a few of the celebrities that you have worked with during
the years. Do you have someone in mind that you really want to collaborate
with in the future?
- Paavo: We have
many names in our mind, but we prefer not to talk about since nothing
is decided yet. If I have to say someone, I think it would be Marilyn
Manson. In the past we always wanted to work with Björk, but she
has done so many things with strings now so it doesn't feel as interesting
Metal Covenant: : One band that has influenced
you a lot is obviously Metallica. What did you think about their much
debated album "St. Anger"?
Paavo: In my opinion,
that album was very good and had a good statement. But it's a bit
hard to listen to. It's not my favourite and I enjoy the older ones
more. If you're in the right mood it can be great to listen to, however.
Metal Covenant: Do you have anything special
you want to say to your fans and the Metal Covenant readers?
Metal Covenant: : And finally, what is
the one question that you have never been asked during an interview, but
you wished you had?
- Paavo: Hmm
How about, "What do you think about windsurfing?"
Metal Covenant: : So, what do you think